Cryobiology is the area of science that develops procedures for freezing and post-thaw utilization of somatic cells, gametes or tissues. Being able to freeze samples in this manner enables us to hold genetic resources from an animal in a state of suspended animation for an indefinite period of time. Upon thawing the samples the cells or tissue is viable and biologically active. As a result we can use thawed samples to reintroduce genetic variability.
How the Animal Genetic Resources of Canada Operates
There are three major technical components:
- Information systems to better understand genetic diversity in the collection of germplasm and live populations.
- Understanding genetic diversity for the collection of germplasm and live populations.
- Cryobiology, the discipline that enables the program to store gametes and various tissues at ultra-low temperatures (about −196°C).
In addition this program interacts with a wide range of livestock producers, researchers, and various industry representatives.
Genetic evaluation of the germplasm collection and live populations provides us with an opportunity to:
- Assess the existing genetic variation in a breed
- Determine how well the collection has captured a breed's genetic variation
- Identify unique genetic composition of animals in the collection
Information is key to understanding the status, trends, and actions needed to better conserve and use animal genetic resources. The Animal-Genetic Resources Information Network (Animal-GRIN) serves as a portal for users to explore and use the genetic resource collection developed by AAFC.